How to Achieve Amazing Abs, With No Crunches
There’s one reason you pay attention to diet and exercise and, let’s be honest, it’s not to improve your fitness levels or ensure overall wellbeing; you want to lose weight and – let’s be even more honest – your belly fat. However, even after crunches and crunches, that six pack still resembles more of a beer barrel. So how do you actually achieve amazing abs?
According to strength and conditioning trainer and wellness expert Arnav Sarkar, ‘Before you start ab exercises you first need to clean up your diet. Create a slight calorie deficit while consuming a lot of protein, fibrous fruits and veggies, healthy fats, water and complex carbs. This is the first step to help you flatten your midsection. When it comes to ab training, you need to focus on compound exercises. Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that work various muscles or muscle groups at once.’
Sarkar explains the reason that your crunches aren’t working is that ‘Crunches are easy; you simply lay on the floor and lift up (many people perform this exercise wrong, and injure themselves instead of strengthening the core). To really work your core and trim your stomach, you need to do challenging movements. Difficult exercises, like squats or push-ups, take you out of your comfort zone and utilize your whole body—this is the key to develop rock-hard abs.’ So which no-crunch moves can give you a solid core and defined abs?
1. Kettlebell Renegade Rows: While rows are traditionally thought to work your lat muscles, they actually engage your whole body—especially the core. Make sure your body is in a straight line for this exercise, and don’t let your hips sag or become lifted into an “A” position.
Begin in a push-up position with your hands on two kettlebell handles.
Row one bell to your side and use the other handle to stabilise yourself.
Return the rowed bell to the ground.
Repeat on the other side.
Do six to eight reps on each side, or 12 to 15 reps if you’ve gained enough strength.
2. Russian Twists: This exercise is best done holding a medicine ball or a weighted plate, depending on what works for you. Remember you should be turning your torso, and not your arms, from side to side in this exercise.
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent, and lean back about 45 degrees.
- Hold your arms out straight in front of you.
- Twist your torso to one side and hold for a second.
- Return to the start position, and twist to the other side.
- Do 15 to 20 reps.
3. Kettlebell Windmill: This exercise isn’t only great for your abs, it also improves your flexibility—especially if you have tight hamstrings. If you can’t lower all the way to the ground, go as far down as you can for now. The more you do this exercise, the more flexible you’ll become, so soon you’ll be able to reach the ground, no problem. To increase the intensity of this workout and ensure it’s improving your wellness, you should aim to use heavier kettlebells rather than pushing yourself to do the maximum amount of reps. Here’s how you do a kettlebell windmill:
- Hold the kettlebell in your right hand, and lift it up over your head.
- Turn your feet 45 degrees to the left.
- Keeping your right arm straight overhead, bend down and touch the ground with your left hand.
- Return to the start position.
- Do three to five reps and switch sides.